My name is Hugh McCluggage and I’m here to let you know that I’ll be saying I am Lion for a while to come.
You are a big reason for that. We have the best fans in the competition and I’m absolutely thrilled to extend my contract with the Brisbane Lions until the end of 2024.
I was and will always remain humbled and honoured to get a chance to do something I love for a living.
But it isn’t quite how I imagined. From the outside as a kid I saw players, teams and I guess the senior coach.
It’s so much more than that. To me a football club means staff, members and fans and everyone’s family and friends. They can all say I am Lion. When you come from another State to play football these people, people like you, help to make you feel at home.
Success is what drives us, there is absolutely no doubt about that.
But it is also a special feeling knowing you are just a small part of something much bigger.
Within the team Fages only ever asks for each player to perform their role, we don’t need individual heroics.
And as players we are all aware and grateful that everyone who says I am Lion has a role to play they are all important.
On gameday you see 22 players a bunch of coaches and a handful of trainers but a mountain of work has been done right back to the start of pre-season to get the team ready.
And just as much happens behind the scenes to put on the show. Then there’s your role and believe me it’s important. Ask any players the best thing about game day and they’ll tell you it’s the roar of the crowd.
It inspires us.
The Brisbane Lions gave me my start in the AFL and I will be eternally grateful for the faith they showed in me.
I feel very fortunate that I arrived when I did. We didn’t win a lot of games in the first couple of years but inside the four walls of our footy club I could sense something was building.
We couldn’t wait to bring that belief to life for the fans who supported us through the tough times.
The players became the best of friends because we saw in each other a shared commitment to make our Club powerful again.
We built incredible bonds with the coaches and support staff who make it their mission every day to help us be the best we can be.
And then when the wins started coming we discovered there’s no better feeling than achieving something with your mates, and for the people who supported you all the way.
Pre-seasons in Queensland can be brutal.
But we’ve grown to love them because they help us to improve.
The past couple of summers a large group of us have stuck around and trained together over our annual leave because we want to get fitter, faster, stronger and better.
The pain melts away when you see a mate busting his arse for the same reason you are, to give the Lions the best chance at success.
Those that had to head home to see loved ones blew us away with the condition they returned in. I can only imagine the commitment it took to train that hard alone without someone there pushing them along.
That’s what happens when you are part of a Brotherhood.
Yes, we’ve had a couple of good seasons now, but none of us are satisfied.
Everyone one of us will continue to do our bit to achieve ultimate success for our Club and we all know you will too.